Auckland - New Zealand-born international advertising executive Nicola Bell has been appointed CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi New Zealand.
She joins the agency after 10 years with Ogilvy New York and 8 years at Ogilvy Sydney. In New York Nicola was Worldwide Managing Director on the Kodak, Motorola and Avon accounts. She was the youngest member appointed to the Ogilvy NY Management Board, and the only account leader invited to participate in Ogilvy's Global Creative Council.
Ian Rowden, Chairman and CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi Asia Pacific, says he is delighted to announce a person of such calibre to lead the New Zealand agency. “In Nicola we have a leader who brings a vast global perspective, an impressive track record of client partnership with some of the world’s best known brands, extensive experience in brand transformation and integrated communications, and a passionate eye for game-changing creativity.”
Nicola succeeds outgoing CEO Andrew Stone. She was born in Auckland and moved with her family to Australia when she was 10. Her early career with Ogilvy in Sydney saw her work on diverse businesses such as Unilever's Dove, Bushells, Lipton Tea and Raguletto, as well as American Express, World Wildlife Fund, Xerox, Philips and the Australian Government's Child Immunisation and Young Drivers campaigns.
She was transferred to Ogilvy New York in 1999 to run Dove in North America. During her 6 years at the helm of the Kodak account in New York she navigated the brand through its enterprise-wide digital transformation, leading a cross-discipline team spanning over 30 countries, comprising advertising, digital, retail, media strategy, planning and buying, production and implementation.
Of her appointment, Nicola says “I am thrilled to be joining Saatchi & Saatchi New Zealand. The agency is exceptionally creative and has a proven track record for creating big, compelling brand ideas. I have long admired the agency's unique ability to articulate a contemporary spirit of 'New Zealandness' for its national brands. This level of insight and understanding is world class and indicates an ability to create ideas that are compelling and relevant.
“There is no doubt this is an exciting and challenging time in our business. The era of participation advertising has empowered consumers, and given them a significant voice. In this intimate but fragmented media age, we must enable and drive even higher levels of engagement. The challenge is to always drive that engagement through a big brand idea, not simply proliferate new channel options for the sake of it.”
Her former employer in New York, John Seifert, Chairman North America, Ogilvy, says “Nicola is adored in the creative ranks for her deep understanding of, and sensitivity to, the creative process. She operates seamlessly across disciplines, and knows how to build teams with a multiplicity of specialist skills to meet the strategic marketing and communication needs of her clients.”
Nicola, her husband and their 3 year old twins will relocate from New York to Auckland in February. Her first official day in the role will be February 22nd.